The Folwell letters, June 23, 1863: “We have no reliable news.”

Let me get back to Captain William W. Folwell and his bridge builders on the Potomac.  When we last checked in, Company I of the 50th New York Engineers were at Edwards Ferry, along with other engineers from their own regiment and the US Regulars, having built the first pontoon bridge at the site.  Having accomplished their task, the engineers were sentenced to sitting to wait on  the rest of the Army.  And waiting they did…

Edwards Ferry, Md.,

June 23rd, 1863.

Twelve hours of unbroken sleep makes me a new man again.  Bain [Lieutenant Mahlon Bainbridge Folwell] and I made our beds together.  We had two rubber blankets, our overcoats, and our woolen blankets under us, and over us my white double woolen blanket.  The previous night, we had slept cold, but last night we were as snug as could be.  We had a nice breakfast of broiled ham, fried potatoes, boiled eggs, bread and butter and coffee.  The eggs were cooked to absolute perfection….

That sounds like a pretty good breakfast, if you ask me!

But these guys weren’t there to sit around the campfire and drink coffee.  There was a war on:

We have no reliable news. This is an out-of-the-way place.  It seems quite certain that the Rebs. have been (in small force) in Frederick.  I do not think they have any considerable body north of the Potomac. If they have, we can’t help it.  Hooker can’t spare a man from the ranks as long as Lee is on his front with 180,000 men.  I hope we can avoid battle for some weeks.  Indeed, I wish there might be no more fighting this season, and that during it and the following winter, an army of 1,200,000 men be raised and organized.  What an eternal shame to us that the Rebels, with less by far resources of all kinds, should constantly outnumber us.  Here’s Lee with 120,000 men (as I was informed yesterday by a deserter from Longstreet’s Corps) while Hooker can barely parade 75,000.  The deserter was an intelligent fellow and well-informed.  he says the Rebels hold us in greater contempt than ever since they flagged us at Chancellorsville.  They had but 65,000 men there.  Longstreet’s whole corps was at Suffolk.  We had 120,000 men and were disgracefully and ignominiously beaten by little more than half our number.  I am astonished that Mr. Lincoln retains Hooker in command.  The giving the order to retreat ought to have broken him.  Oh, such a shame to have lost the battle, and 20,000 men hors du combat.

Another frank assessment of Hooker’s leadership from Folwell.  A prevailing opinion in the ranks at that time of the war.  But I would read into this further.  Folwell was convinced, at that moment in time, the Confederates had considerably more men than they would ever be able to concentrate at this time in the war (if ever at all!).   I’d argue this goes further to an underlying belief, instilled during the early phases of the war, that the Confederates had been able to recruit, equip, and field a massive force.  A presumption that clouded thinking from the highest to the lowest levels.

Beyond that, I’ve never really understood why the word of a deserter was taken as firm truth.

More war news to close out his entry for the day:

Bain has just handed me a copy of a telegram from Gen. Butterfield to Capt. [Charles] Turnbull, giving an account of the Cavalry fight on Sunday.  Pleasonton thrashed Stuart completely.  Drove them back to Ashby’s Gap, captured prisoners, 2 pieces of artillery, small arms, enemy leaving dead and wounded upon the field.  Our loss small.  Well, this is encouraging, but these cavalry skirmishes scarcely affect the general result.  We are to move our camp in a short time.  We can make a very nice camp on the hill.  [Captain Martin] Van Brocklin [of Company C] and I intend riding out to Leesburg this morning to see the country and hear the news.

The news of the cavlary fighting, from days before, was as sign of things to come.  Somewhat like a distant thunder in the distance on a summer day, portending a moving storm front.  The question that lingered, like the smell of rain to come, was “where?”  Fate would not grant Folwell’s wish that the rest of 1863 would be quiet.

As for the trip to Leesburg… I hoped would follow a description of the town and surrounding area.  Would be most interesting to those of us studying the Civil War here in Loudoun.  But I doubt Folwell made the trip.  June 24, as we know, was the first of several busy days for the engineers at Edwards Ferry.

(Citations from William Watts Fowell, Civil War Diary, unpublished, transcription retrieved from University of Minnesota Library, pages 415-7 (pages 421-23 of scanned copy))

 

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Indiana’s Independent Batteries (Part 1)

By June 1863, Indiana had twenty-five independent batteries on the books, in one way or another.  In addition to those independent batteries, there were a couple of heavy artillery batteries with field artillery along with detachments and other miscellaneous formations.   So they covered most of a page on the summary sheets:

0185_1E_Snip_IndP1

We will review these in three parts, starting with the first dozen numbered independent batteries:

0185_1_Snip_IndP1

Of these first twelve, only seven have recorded returns.  So let’s dive into those missing parts:

  • 1st Battery:  No report.  The battery remained with Fourteenth Division, Thirteenth Corps and was part of the siege of Vicksburg.  The battery had four (some sources say six) James rifles. Captain Martin Klauss commanded.
  • 2nd Battery:  Reporting at Springfield, Missouri with two 6-pdr field guns and four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Lieutenant Hugh Espey commanded this battery, assigned to the District of Southwestern Missouri.
  • 3rd Battery: Also indicated as at Springfield, Missouri but with two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr Napoleons, and two 3.67-inch rifles.  Also part of the District of Southwestern Missouri, Captain James M. Cockefair commanded this battery.  The battery split duty between Springfield and Rolla during the summer.
  • 4th Battery:  No report. Last quarter found the battery at Murfreesboro, with two 12-pdr Napoleons, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3.80-inch James Rifles.  Lieutenant David Flansburg command this battery, assigned to First Division, Fourteenth Corps.  So June found them participating in the Tullahoma Campaign.
  • 5th Battery: At Shell Mound, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 3.80-inch James rifles. Shell Mound was a landing on the Tennessee River downstream from Chattanooga.  And that location was probably valid for the reporting time of February 1864.  In June 1863, the battery was with Second Division, Twentieth Corps, and part of the Tullahoma Campaign. Lieutenant Alfred Morrison remained in command, with Captain Peter Simonson the division artillery chief (temporarily at least).
  • 6th Battery: No report.  Last quarter’s returns gave the battery two 6-pdr field guns and two 3.80-inch James Rifles. Officially assigned to First Division, Sixteenth Corps. Captain Michael Mueller commanded. The battery had postings across west Tennessee until June, when dispatched with the rest of the division to Vicksburg.
  • 7th Battery: McMinnville, Tennessee with two 12-pdr Napoleons and four 10-pdr Parrotts. Captain George R. Swallow’s battery supported Third Division, Twenty-First Corps.  So the battery was involved with the Tullahoma Campaign at the reporting time. McMinnville appears to be derived from the August report filing.
  • 8th Battery: No return. Captain George Estep retained command of this battery.  In the winter reorganizations, the battery was posted to First Division, Twenty-First Corps at Murfreesboro.  The battery had four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 9th Battery: No return. Lieutenant George R. Brown commanded this battery, assigned to Fourth Division, Sixteenth Corps.  It remained part of the garrison at District of Columbus, in Kentucky.
  • 10th Battery: Reporting at Pelham, Tennessee with two 12-pdr field howitzers and four 10-pdr Parrotts.  Lieutenant William A. Naylor remained in command of this battery, assigned to First Division, Twenty-First Corps that winter.  At the end of June the battery was involved in the Tullahoma Campaign.
  • 11th Battery: Chattanooga, Tennessee (which was accurate for October 1863 when the report was received) with four 12-pdr Napoleons and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  Captain Arnold Sutermeister’s battery supported Third Division, Twentieth Corps and was on the Tullahoma Campaign at the end of June.
  • 12th Battery: At Nashville, Tennessee as siege artillery.  Returns list the battery assigned to Fort Negley, with four 4.5-inch Ordnance siege rifles under Captain James E. White.

So we can, using the Official Records mostly, fill in most of these blanks.

Turning to the ammunition, the smoothbore columns are particularly active:

0187_1_Snip_IndP1

The usual sets of 6-pdr and 12-pdr rounds:

  • 2nd Battery: 203 shot, 203 case, and 191 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • 3rd Battery:  105 shot, 141 case, and 132 canister for 6-pdr field guns;  136 shot, 406 shell, 227 case, and 300 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 5th Battery: 76 shot, 24 shell, 92 case, and 33 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 7th Battery: 75 shot, 32 shell, 101 case, and 48 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.
  • 10th Battery: 115 shell, 100 case, and 116 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 11th Battery: 132 shot, 122 shell, 110 case, and 120 canister for 12-pdr Napoleons.

Moving to the next page, we start the rifled projectiles with the Hotchkiss columns:

0187_2_Snip_IndP1

Not a lot to report:

  • 5th Battery: 24 shot, 24 fuse shell, and 132 bullet shell for 3.80-inch James.
  • 11th Battery: 100 canister, 140 fuse shell, and 150 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

There is one “stray” on the following page for Hotchkiss:

0188_1A_Snip_IndP1

  • 5th Battery: 32 canister for 3.80-inch Rifles.

Moving to the right, the James columns:

0188_1B_Snip_IndP1

Three batteries reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: 130 shot and 142 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 3rd Battery: 52 shot, 273 shell, and 24 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • 5th Battery:  58 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

And over to the Parrotts:

0188_1C_Snip_IndP1

Two batteries with Parrotts, and two reporting:

  • 7th Battery: 197 shell, 273 case, and 157 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.
  • 10th Battery: 468 shell, 225 case, and 94 canister for 10-pdr Parrotts.

Note to the right, there is one entry for Schenkl patent projectiles for Parrott rifles:

  • 7th Battery: 217 shot for 10-pdr Parrott.

To the last page of ammunition columns, we find two entries:

0188_2_Snip_IndP1

Both for 5th Battery:

  • 5th Battery:  150 Schenkl shell for 3.80-inch rifles; 40 Tatham canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Yes, 5th Battery reported canister from three different patterns to feed their James rifles (and that does not include canister for their 12-pdr Napoleons).  Would love to see a first hand account discussing those particulars.

Lastly, we have the small arms:

0188_3_Snip_IndP1

By battery, of those reporting:

  • 2nd Battery: Eighteen rifles (no type specified), twenty-eight Army revolvers, and twenty-two cavalry sabers.
  • 3rd Battery: Four Navy revolvers and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 5th Battery: One percussion pistol, fourteen cavalry sabers, and seven horse artillery sabers.
  • 7th Battery: Two cavalry sabers and fifteen horse artillery sabers.
  • 10th Battery: Eighteen Army revolvers and twelve horse artillery sabers.
  • 11th Battery: Ten Army revolvers, twelve Navy revolvers, and eleven cavalry sabers.

Perhaps the 5th Indiana Battery must have been the last user of the percussion pistol?

Next we’ll pick up the bottom half of the Indiana Independent Batteries.

 

Fortification Friday: Wheeler vs. Mahan, Embrasures and Bonnettes

Last week we gave time to Junius B. Wheeler’s instructions about barbette batteries.  Now let us turn to his thoughts on embrasures, which were the alternative siting of artillery in a field fortification.  Wheeler offered this drawing of an embrasure for reference:

WheelerFig38

Perhaps a cleaner diagram than Mahan used, either in his pre-war or post-war texts, but generally the same features. The art and science of making an embrasure changed little.  For reference, here are the labels and specifications Wheeler gave:

  • The Sole was the bottom of the embrasure: G-E-F-H in the figure.  This was inclined outward, usually at the same rate as the superior slope of the parapet.
  • The Throat was the opening on the interior: a-b-G-H in the figure. Normally 18 to 24 inches wide.
  • The Mouth was the exterior opening: C-E-F-D.
  • The Splay described the widening of the embrasure towards the exterior.
  • The Cheeks were sides of the embrasure: a-CE and b-F-D.
  • Directly bisecting the sole between the cheeks is the Directrix: M-N.  This determined the base orientation of the cannon in the embrasure.
  • The Genouillere was the slope between the throat and the banquette (or raised mound for the gun’s platform).
  • The Merlon was the section of parapet between embrasures on the parapet.

Wheeler indicated that embrasures were best cut out after the parapet was completed, adding “the exterior openings are masked until the moment to use them arrives, to prevent their position from being discovered by reconnoitering parties of the enemy.”  In terms of labor estimates, Wheeler indicated, “a detail of six men should be able to cut an embrasure in the parapet of a field work and finish it in eight hours.”

But before those six men could take shovel in hand, the engineer had to trace the embrasure.  Wheeler offered detailed instructions.  More detailed than Mahan’s but not significantly different.  The process started by drawing the directrix.  From there the throat was defined.  From there the sole, mouth, and cheeks were drawn out.  But the key to all those elements was the slope of the sole and the angles of the splay.  And those elements defined the angles at which the gun could be trained to fire.  Thus very important things to consider:

The splay of the sole is usually determined, in plan, by giving to E F some definite length, and then joining its extremities with the lower line of the throat.  A throat twenty inches wide will have a horizontal field of fire of twenty-two degrees, when E F is equal to one half the thickness of the parapet; a fire of thirty-one degrees, when the E F is equal to two-thirds of the thickness; a fire of forty-eight degrees, when this line is equal to the thickness of the parapet.

Mahan had offered a similar rule, but I tend to like Wheeler’s explanation better.  Just seems clearer and fine to the point.   From there, Wheeler discussed how to lay out the cheeks and complete the embrasure.  Like Mahan, Wheeler suggested revetting the embrasure to prevent damage when firing the cannon.  Gabions were preferred, though sod was also suggested.

Since more than one gun would be placed on the parapet:

Consecutive embrasures should not be nearer to each other than fifteen feet from center to center, to prevent crowding of the guns and to prevent the merlon, M, from being too weak.  A merlon which measures less than six feet on the exterior crest should not be allowed, as it would make the parapet too weak.

Note the location of the merlon, M, on the figure:

WheelerFig39

Consider the rule of thumb regarding the size of the mouth (that E-F measure) when applied here.  Let’s say our parapet is five feet thick, and you want to allow a 48º traverse.  So the E-F line must be five feet on the exterior crest.  But the distance between “F” on the left side embrasure and the “E” on the right side embrasure must be at least fifteen feet.  Furthermore the distance between the left side “D” and the right side’s “C” must be at least six feet.  Adding all those together, we find a total front needed of twenty-five feet of parapet face, at minimum, if we want two cannon with 48º traverse.  All well and good if you have room. But we might want to reduce the traverse to avoid unnecessary work.

Like Mahan, Wheeler considered both direct and oblique embrasures.  Regarding the latter, Wheeler offered the limitations up front:

Oblique embrasures do not admit of the muzzle of the gun being inserted so far as the direct ones, and they weaken the parapets more.

Oblique embrasures are not used, as a rule, if the directrix makes with the normal to the crest an angle exceeding ten degrees.  In case the angle is greater, the embrasure is provided for, in field works, by modifying the interior crest by means of the method known as “indenting.”

This method consists of making a crest a crémaillère line, instead of a right line, with the short branches perpendicular to the direction of fire, and in those short branches constructing direct embrasures.

Or, simply put, if you need a larger angle than ten degrees off the dirextrix, then build a small redan or other extension out from the parapet.  Such implies a better trance should be considered to start with.

Overall, comparing barbettes to embrasures, Wheeler considered the former as offering wide fields of fire without weakening the parapet.  But the barbette exposed the gun crew to enemy fire.  While the embrasure protected the guns and crew, there were limitations to the field of fire and weaknesses along the parapet.  Furthermore, Wheeler warned that embrasures made a good mark for enemy fires against the fortification.  Recall during the war Federals were very proud of the 3-inch Ordnance Rifles’ ability to put rounds through Confederate embrasures at range.

To mitigate the exposure of the guns and crew from enemy fire, Wheeler offered an additional structure, calling them Bonnettes:

It is frequently desirable that the height of the parapet, at certain points, should be increased for a short distance.  This increase is generally obtained by making use of the constructions known as bonnettes.  A bonnette extends but a short distance along the parapet, is make of earth, and is used generally to give greater protection to the men standing on the banquette against a slant or an enfilading fire of the enemy.

Bonnettes are placed usually on the salilents; they are sometimes placed on the parapet between guns “en barbette.”

They may be constructed during the progress of the work, or after the work has been finished.  In the former case, their construction is, to all intents and purposes, similar to that of the parapet. In the latter case, they are constructed generally in haste, and sand bags or gabions filled with earth are used to build them.

Note, bonnettes are not traverses, as they stand directly on the parapet.  Rather these were structures placed to the sides of the barbette (or embrasure if needed).  While I can find references to bonnettes going back to the previous century, Mahan seems to have disregarded them.  The reason may lay in the disadvantage of the bonnette.  In effect, the structure raises the parapet’s interior crest relative to the banquette, thus preventing musketry from that section of the parapet.  In Mahan’s framework, musketry was considered important to the fort’s defense.  However, by Wheeler’s time canister fire seemed to be more desirable.  That would reduce manpower requirements, foot for foot, on the parapet.

Comparing Wheeler with Mahan, in regard to arrangements for batteries, there is not much difference in terms of form or even implementation.  But we do see some variance in the function.

(Citations from Junius B. Wheeler, The Elements of Field Fortifications, New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1882, pages 120-6.)

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Iowa’s Batteries

The next set of summaries on the sheet are from the state of Iowa.  In the previous quarter, Iowa had three numbered batteries and one detachment, to the 4th Iowa Cavalry.  The numbered batteries were easily identified.  And the 4th Iowa’s “stores on hand” we could trace back to a pair of Woodruff Guns used by the regiment.  But for the second quarter, we find the three numbered batteries accompanied by two detachments, neither of which is the 4th Iowa Cavalry:

0177_1_Snip_Iowa

Not much change on the top part, but we’ll need to address the two detachments in detail:

  • 1st Iowa Battery: At Vicksburg, Mississippi with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers.  The battery remained with First Division, Fifteenth Corps.  Captain Henry H. Griffiths commanded.
  • 2nd Iowa Battery: Reporting from Bear Creek, Mississippi with two 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Lieutenant Joseph R. Reed commanded this battery.  In April, the Eighth Division, Sixteenth Corps transferred to become the Third Division, Fifteenth Corps.
  • 3rd Iowa Battery: At Helena, Arkansas with four 6-pdr field guns and two 12-pdr field howitzers. Captain Mortimer M. Hayden commanded this battery.  The battery was assigned to the Twelfth Division, Thirteenth Corps, carried on returns as the District of Eastern Arkansas.
  • 2nd Cav. Arty. Stores.” –  A location of LaGrange, Tennessee and with two 12-pdr mountain howitzers.   The 2nd Iowa Cavalry was part of Grierson’s Raid in April-May 1863.  Colonel Edward Hatch’s regiment was detached early on the raid to distract Confederates and returned to Grand Junction.  As for the two cannon?  More on this below.
  • 41st Iowa Infy.” – At Fort (Illegible), D.T…. Dakota Territory… with one 12-pdr mountain howitzer.   The 41st Iowa Infantry Battalion was formed from three companies out of the 14th Iowa in December 1861.  Posted to the Dakota Territories, the battalion was later transferred to the 7th Iowa Cavalry.

These last two entry lines deserve more attention.  First off, we know well the clerks in the Ordnance Department would often tally odd, non-standard weapons under various columns.  And often more clues are seen with the implements and carriages.  Looking to columns for the latter, we find:

0177_2_Snip_Iowa

Nothing very specific here.  The 2nd Iowa Cavalry would have, according to the clerks, two prairie carriages and two prairie ammunition carts.  The 41st Iowa Infantry (7th Iowa Cavalry if you prefer) had one 12-pdr mountain howitzer carriage.

The 2nd Iowa Cavalry regimental history indicates at least one of the 2-pdr Woodruff guns were detailed to the regiment during Grierson’s Raid.  So one, maybe two, of those small cannon must have still been on charge at reporting time in June 1863.  And I think this is why we see the distinction of prairie carriage and cart.  Not a lot to go on – regimental history and the odd behavior of the clerks.  But we do know the regiment was associated with the Woodruff gun at least for a short period adjacent to the reporting date.  Still, I have room four doubt.  The clerks usually carried, if they did at all, Woodruffs on the Union Repeating Gun column.  Furthermore, as we will see with the ammunition reported, there are other mis-matches to reconcile here.

As for the 41st Iowa Infantry, certainly would make sense for a unit on the frontier to have a mountain howitzer on hand.  Digging deeper, I found a pendulum hausse for 12-pdr mountain howitzer among the other equipment reported by the 41st.   So I am apt to mark this as very a correct entry line – the 41st must have had a mountain howitzer.

Moving from those speculative portions, we move on to the ammunition reported on hand. All of it smoothbore:

0179_1_Snip_Iowa

Breaking this down by battery and detachment:

  • 1st Battery: 400 shot, 320 case, and 82 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 120 shell, 160 case, and 42 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 2nd Battery: 111 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 74 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 3rd Battery: 315 shot, 303 case, and 114 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 109 shell, 156 case, and 32 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.
  • 2nd Iowa Cavalry: 12 shell, 108 case, and 24 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • 41st Iowa Infantry: 55 shell, 12 case, and 40 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.

First note – I’ve assumed here the 12-pdr canister quantities were matched up with the field howitzers.  We’ve seen before the clerks often used those columns as either/or for 12-pdr Napoleons, 12-pdr howitzers, and 12-pdr mountain howitzers.  So I’m not too concerned about those entries.

If we read these directly, the 2nd Battery had only canister for their weapons while working the lines at Vicksburg.

And with ammunition reported by the 2nd Iowa Cavalry, there’s 144 arguments saying “12-pdr mountain howitzers” used by the troopers.

But, moving on to the rifled projectiles we find… nothing!  The Iowa artillerists were not trusted with rifles, I guess.  I’ve posted the pages (one, two, and three) for those who like to look at blank pages.

That brings us to the small arms:

0180_3_Snip_Iowa

Well that is brief:

  • 1st Battery: Eight cavalry sabers.
  • 2nd Battery: Four cavalry sabers.

The Army trusted the Iowa artillerists with edged weapons, but not pistols.

Fort Sumter, April 1865 Photos, Part 2: The Confederate sallyport

What say let’s walk around Fort Sumter, as it was in the past… in April 1865.  Earlier I introduced this photo as capturing several key reference points, labeling it “FS1” for ease of identification:

02320a

In the first post in this series, I offered this as the camera location and point of view for FS1:

FS1Locator

Keeping with the idea of “walking” the grounds as they were 150 years ago, let’s focus on that circle just right of center view.  That’s a sallyport built by the Confederates during the war.

For those unfamiliar with the layout, the original sallyport for Fort Sumter was on the gorge wall (at the bottom of the survey diagram, above).  That wall fronted Morris Island.  So it was the focus of the Confederate bombardment in April 1861.  Then later in the summer of 1863 the Federals started demolishing the gorge wall at long range.  By the end of the war, that wall was obliterated, barely resembling the pre-war form.  Profile A-B from the survey illustrates that very well:

Feb18_65_SnipElevationAB

Note the dashed lines standing tall just left of center.  That’s the “as constructed” profile of the gorge wall.  What remained was a debris pile, contained on the inner side by gabions, with an internal gallery.  No passageway remained.  Though I would point out, on the far left, the original stone wharf remained at the high water line.  (And parts of it are probably still there in the mud.)

So, with the gorge wall under fire and the passage destroyed, how did the Confederates enter and exit the fort?  They built a new sallyport, on the northwest wall.  That face was turned away from the Federal batteries and best protected from possible glancing blows.  Looking to the “left shoulder” of the fort from the 1865 survey:

Feb18_65_SnipLeftShoulderAngleEXT

Corresponding to the circled feature in the photo, we see the slit where the annotation “U” appears, for the internal entrance to the sallyport.   Turning to the lower-layer survey, more details emerge:

Feb18_65_SnipLeftShoulderAngleINT

This passage leads out to a wharf.  Notice the passage is through the second embrasure from the corner.  The first embrasure was occupied by a gun covering the wharf.  The original fort wall remained on this quarter.  And immediately through the entrance, to the left and right are open galleries from the lower tier of the fort.  Confederates fashioned some rooms in this area, which we’ll return to discuss in a moment.  The line T-U refers to a profile diagram, with more details:

Feb18_65_SnipElevationTU

Again we see the “ghost” dashed lines representing the original fort profile.  Here the fort was cut down by Federal fires but the damage was not as severe compared to the gorge wall.  The Confederate wharf was built on piles extending directly out from the fort wall.  And we also see the galleries, from the original fort construction but re-purposed by the Confederates.  From those galleries, a tunnel passes under the debris into the fort’s parade ground.  This was the “front door” to Fort Sumter, from about August 1863 until probably the 1890s.

As this is an engineer’s survey, we might expect the dimensions to be in scale.  So what do we have as the width?  Well, sliding the diagram’s scale over to use as a ruler:

SallyportWidth

What?  About six to eight feet wide?

And the profile:

SallyportHeight

Almost ten feet?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have something in the photo to challenge those dimensions?   Oh… wait, we have that guy standing at attention on the fort’s parapet. Why not ask him to step down there…. A little crop, cut, and paste… and there he is:

SallyportPhoto

OK… maybe this guy would go first in the next NBA draft.  Or maybe my photo manipulation is out of calibration.  On one hand, I can make the argument for a ten foot tall, eight foot wide passage there.  It would allow the garrison to move things like mountain howitzers about.  On the other hand, the Confederates would want that to be narrow, providing a small opening to guard against splinters of bursting shells.

Even if we go with the eight by ten passageway dimensions, that was somewhat confining.  Certainly not the way one wants VIPs and dignitaries and… an entire regimental band entering the fort on the day of celebration.  So in the later photos, such as those taken during the flag-raising, we see a set of steps going up and over the parapet:

02465a

Note that “VIP stairway” was in addition to the stairs going up the parapet that we see on the other photo.  The VIP stairs go up and over the parapet in a place leading directly to the wharf.  So everything fits – photos and surveys.

But if you arrive at Fort Sumter today, step off the boat, do you walk through the old Confederate sallyport?  No.  Here’s walkway up from the pier today:

Ft Sumter 3 May 2010 150

The left-most embrasure (bricked over) in this view is the casemate directly on the north (or left shoulder) corner of the fort.  Moving to the next over, let’s count … one sealed embrasure…. one completely removed … one open… a second open… then the doorway.  So five embrasures down from the corner.  How does that compare to the 1865 survey?  Let’s go to the draft version of the survey… for reasons you will understand in a moment:

Feb65Draft_LeftShoulderAngleNotations

“Box A” here is the wharf.  Note in the draft the extents of the wharf were… well it is a draft.  Moving from there, I’ve highlighted the passage as “Box B.”  Counting embrasures and galleries, we go to “Box C,” which is the corner gun position.  Now count one down from there – “Box D” – which is where a gun was positioned in the April 1865 survey, to cover the wharf.   So, we know the Confederate sallyport was through the second embrasure down the wall, which has the mouth completely removed today.  What’s in that spot now?  This:

Fort Sumter 4 Aug 11 1621

A concrete structure.  This was built up when the fort was re-built in the 1890s. In addition to Battery Huger, the Army setup casemates (what Civil War soldiers would call bombproofs) from which to control minefields setup around the harbor entrance.  Mines… you mean torpedoes?   Yes, those infernal machines again.  Here’s a close up photo:

Ft Sumter 3 May 2010 319

Of course that meant some other entrance was needed:

Ft Sumter 3 May 2010 152a

The short-story version of Fort Sumter’s sallyport changes, but by no means the complete detailed story.   The current entrance is not fancy, but certainly was better than that given in April 1865.  Going back to the call-out boxes in the draft survey diagram, I’ve highlighted the embrasure used by the present day entrance as “Box E”.

Recall that I mentioned some features were included on the draft that did not make it to the final diagram for the 1865 survey.  One of those appears just below the embrasure used by the modern entrance.  “Box F” is one of those:

Feb65Draft_LeftShoulderAngleNotations2

A structure, which looks to be wood, placed outside the fort’s wall is labeled “kitchen.”  We even see a little smokestack on the upper-right of the kitchen’s roof.  That would have stood just to the right, as one enters the fort.  The kitchen was placed outside the fort, on a safe wall, to prevent an accident.  Certainly would not want a grease fire to spark a magazine explosion.  One of those magazines I’ve called out as “Box H” (see the full diagram above), which serviced the second three gun battery in the fort.

Notice also “Box G” here.  This is labeled “Telegraph Office.”  The main means of communicating between Charleston, Fort Sumter, and the other Confederate positions around the harbor was via telegraph.  Now days, this cannon occupies the spot:

Ft Sumter 3 May 2010 312

A 42-pdr Seacoast Gun Model 1845, banded and rifled, which we’ve looked at before.

So from keys offered in the photo, matched to features in the survey diagrams, we’ve walked into the fort, as it was in 1865, and identified a few important spots.  All of which you might stand on today when visiting the fort.

Fortification Friday: Wheeler vs. Mahan, comparing barbettes

Last week, I compared Junius B. Wheeler’s post-war field fortification instructions to the pre-war writings of Dennis H. Mahan, specific to the classes of interior arrangements.  The take away there was Wheeler giving the classification more thought and refinement, which no doubt was based on wartime experience.  More of that experience worked into Wheeler’s instructions as the lesson went into specifics about each class.

The first of those classes was on the parapet.  Mahan, of course, narrowed the definition to just that of the batteries.  Wheeler, on the other hand, asked the cadets to consider all type of firepower used in defense of the works:

Defense. – The work may be defended by musketry alone, or it may be defended by artillery combined with musketry.

The arrangements of the parapet for musketry are completed when the banquette and the revetment of the interior slope are finished.

The work, in this condition, does not admit of the use of artillery.  Some additional arrangements must be provided, if artillery is to be employed. The fire of artillery is either over the parapet or through it…..

And with that, Wheeler’s path merged back with that of Mahan leading into the discussion of barbette and embrasure batteries.  Last August when discussion the construction of barbettes, I briefly compared Wheeler’s instructions with Mahan’s.  Wheeler opted for a “least common denominator” planning factors.  Otherwise, the process was generally the same.  I would say that Wheeler’s instructions are easier for me (schooled in the 20th century) to follow. But that’s always a subjective measure.  Still, to be direct with the comparison, here are Mahan’s planning factors, for field guns:

  • Mound of earth 2 feet 9 inches high.
  • Spacing along parapet – 16 ½ to 18 feet of length.
  • Depth of 24 feet (atop the tread of the banquette).
  • Ramp behind the mound at least 10 feet wide, sloped at 1:6 ratio.

And here are Wheeler’s (again for field guns):

  • Mound of earth 2 feet 9 inches high (which Wheeler said was optional)
  • Spacing along parapet – 16 ½ to 18 feet of length.
  • Mound depth of 20 feet (this could include a platform built just for the cannon).
  • Mound width of 10 to 15 feet (again, this could be the platform built for the cannon)
  • Ramp behind the mound at least 9 feet wide, sloped at 1:6 ratio.

Wheeler offered this illustration to support the instructions:

WheelerFig36

I’m not too concerned with the variation in the dimensions.  If we really need a “culprit” to point towards, I would mention that Mahan was writing at a time when Alfred Mordecai had just introduced revised carriages for field artillery.  But we would be quibbling over the difference in inches within the “instructed” dimensions for something being built out in the field where general measurements would be the rule.  I think Wheeler was just giving us a least common denominator response.

However, since Wheeler gives us a detailed diagram, let us give his instructions a close look.  He set the major line A-B as the interior crest of the parapet.  Eleven inches back of that is line a-b (lower case), where the mound (platform for me) touched the parapet.  The width of the mound’s surface was then set across the line a-b, which is specified as 15 feet in the diagram.  From there perpendiculars extend back twenty feet (a-c and b-d).  That gives us a fifteen by twenty foot surface of the mound (again, I prefer to call this the platform) on which the gun can be worked, allowing for recoil.  From there, Wheeler specified the earth set on the natural slope to support what I call the platform.

As for the ramp, the setup remained the same, though one foot narrower, as that prescribed by Mahan.  Note that Wheeler left the rest of the banquette as configured for musketry, meaning shallow depth.

What we don’t see described here is a battery configured with several guns in barbette along the parapet.  While that could be done, if the need arose, Wheeler agreed with Mahan that barbettes were more likely to be used on the salients.  However, while Mahan gave us very detailed instructions for the construction of such barbettes, Wheeler made short work of this.  After describing the need (and particulars of) the pan-coupé, he waved his hand through the rest:

The construction of the plan differs from the one described only in the form of the supper surface.  In this case, the upper surface is pentagonal in form, care being taken to make it large enough to allow the gun to be fired over the faces of the salient, as well as along the capital.

He even recycled Mahan’s diagram:

WheelerFig37

From there, Wheeler simply added that more guns could be added along the sides of the salient… avoiding the lengthy instructions given by Mahan in that regard.   Sort of leaves me thinking Wheeler didn’t like barbettes.

Well the alternative, as we have seen, for guns in barbette are those firing through embasures.  We’ll discuss Wheeler’s notions about those next week.

(Citations from Junius B. Wheeler, The Elements of Field Fortifications, New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1882, pages 115-20.)

 

Summary Statement, 2nd Quarter, 1863 – Independent and other Illinois Batteries

Some batteries seemed to have more names than guns assigned.  For Illinois batteries falling outside the regimental affiliations, that was the case.  For the second quarter, 1863, below the entries for the two regiments, we find several lines which require formal introductions:

0177_1_Snip_ILL_misc

With the first line, we see “Third Artillery.”  But from there things fall into disorder.  We find the 14th Illinois Cavalry reporting some mountain howitzers on hand.  Then five batteries identified by commander or sponsor.  Lastly, the 51st Illinois Infantry reported a couple 6-pdrs.  So pardon the lengthy explanations (or wild guesses!) to follow.

  • Battery A, Third Artillery:  We the same identification for the fourth quarter, 1862, but noted this battery was most often cited as the Springfield Light Artillery, or Vaughn’s Battery (after Captain Thomas F. Vaughn).  The latter was used for the first quarter, 1862.   As mentioned in those earlier posts, the designation of a third regiment is a mystery to me.  But we can match the other details to this battery’s service.  Reporting six 3.80-inch James Rifles, the battery, part of the garrison of Memphis, Tennessee, was split into sections at this time, one at Germantown and another at Collierville.
  • I read this as “Col. 14th Cav?. Stores in charge“:  Presuming I transcribe that correctly, this indicates Colonel Horace Capron’s 14th Illinois Cavalry had four 12-pdr mountain howitzers on hand.  At the time of reporting, the regiment was in the First Brigade, Third Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio, reporting at Tompkinsville, Kentucky.  The regimental history provides some insight into this “howitzer battery,” along with accounts of use.  The section was under command of Lieutenant Henry Clay Connelly.  The battery, and regiment, would be involved with pursuit of Morgan in July.

HCConnelly

  • Stokes’s Battery:  This is the Chicago Board of Trade Independent Battery Light Artillery, commanded by Captain James H. Stokes.  If I am reading the faded ink correctly, the battery reported from Manchester, Tennessee, with four 6-pdr field guns, one 6-pdr (3.67-inch) rifle, and two 3.80-inch James rifles.  The battery was part of the Second Cavalry Division, Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Cumberland.
  • Mercantile Battery:  At Vicksburg, Mississippi with three 6-pdr field guns and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Under Captain Patrick H. White, this battery was assigned to Tenth Division, Thirteenth Corps.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: Reporting at Nashville, Tennessee with four 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The location probably reflects the July 1864 receipt date.  In June 1863 the battery was at Vicksburg as part of the First Division, Sixteenth Corps. Lieutenant Henry G. Eddy remained in command.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: Indicated at Loudon, Tennessee with four 6-pdr field guns and three 3.80-inch James Rifles.  The location is valid for a later reporting date.  In June 1863 Captain Edward C. Henshaw’s battery was part of the Third Division, Twenty-third Corps, Army of the Ohio, operating in Kentucky.
  • Bridges’ Battery:  At Manchester, Tennessee with two 6-pdr field guns, two 12-pdr field howitzers, and two 3-inch Ordnance Rifles. Captain Lyman Bridges commanded the battery, which supported the Pioneer Brigade, Army of the Cumberland.
  • Lieut 51st Infy“:  Reporting two 6-pdr field guns.  I leave a large, bold question mark over this one.  If I am correct with the identification, the regiment was assigned to Third Brigade, Third Division, Twentieth Corps at the time of report. This puts them in the middle of the Tullahoma Campaign.

Missing from this list is the Elgin Battery and Colvin’s Independent Battery, which were also operating in Kentucky at this time.  With those omissions, coupled with the question mark on the last line entry, leads me to call this the messiest summary section presented thus far.

But let us press on to the ammunition.  Starting with the smoothbore:

0179_1_Snip_ILL_misc

Lots of smoothbores:

  • Springfield Battery: 72 shell, 28 case, and 56 canister for 12-pdr field howitzers.  Recall the battery reported similar quantities on hand even back in December, with no weapons in that caliber on hand.
  • 14th Cavalry: 108 shell, 576 case, and 108 canister for 12-pdr mountain howitzers.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 334 shot, 302 case, and 259 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Mercantile Battery: 305 shot, 340 case, and 61 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 102 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.  With that last entry, we have another mismatch of ammunition.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 369 shot, 375 case, and 84 canister for 6-pdr field guns.
  • Bridges’ Battery: 195 shot, 266 case, and 122 canister for 6-pdr field guns; 100 shot, 250 case, and 50 canister for 12-pdr field guns; 50 shell and 350 case for 12-pdr field howitzers.  Yet another line with mismatched ammunition reported.
  • 51st Infantry: 70 shot, 84 case, and 42 canister for 6-pdr field guns.

While we can wave off the Springfield Battery’s howitzer ammunition pointing to previous reports, the issues with the Mercantile and Bridge’s battery leave questions.

To the rifled ammunition starting with Hotchkiss:

0179_2_Snip_ILL_misc

And another question:

  • Springfield Battery: 48 shot, 73 percussion shell,  and 30 canister for 6-pdr, 2.6-inch bore; 63 bullet shell for 3.80-inch rifles.  Only the latter would work for the battery’s reported rifles.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 17 shot and 80 percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Mercantile Battery: 42 canister, 105 percussion shell, 93 fuse shell, and 160 bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: 63 percussion shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Bridges’ Battery: 84 canister, 65 percussion shell, 250 fuse shell, and 105(?) bullet shell for 3-inch rifles.

Perhaps the entries for the Springfield Battery were transcription errors.  Perhaps.

Moving to the next page, let’s trim the view have a good look at the numbers:

0180_1A_Snip_ILL_misc

Let’s break this down by type for clarity, starting with the left over Hotchkiss columns:

  • Springfield Battery: 77 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 40 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

Those are “clean”.  So on to the James-patent projectiles:

  • Springfield Battery: 350 shot, 480 shell, and 30 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 33 shot and 72 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 31 shot, 407 shell, and 47 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

That allows us to move to the last page of rifled projectiles.  We find three entries:

0180_2_Snip_ILL_misc

One of those for Schenkl:

  • Stokes’ Battery: 292 shell for 3.80-inch rifles.

And then over to the Tatham’s columns:

  • Springfield Battery: 36 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: 149 canister for 3.80-inch rifles.

So, if you served in the Springfield Battery and canister was ordered, one might find three different varieties in the limber chest.

We might presume, given all the questions and remarks above, the small arms section would be a real mess.  Not so.  Relatively tame:

0180_3_Snip_ILL_misc

Not to disappoint, we have some entries at least deserving a remark or two:

  • Springfield Battery:  Ten horse artillery sabers.
  • Stokes’ Battery: 135 Army revolvers, eight cavalry sabers, and 26(?) horse artillery sabers.
  • Mercantile Battery: Four horse artillery sabers.
  • Cogswell’s Battery: Two Army revolvers and two cavalry sabers.
  • Henshaw’s Battery: Thirty (?) Army revolvers and twenty horse artillery sabers.
  • Bridges’ Battery: Ten Army revolvers, fifteen cavalry sabers, and ten horse artillery sabers.
  • 51st Infantry:  Two Army revolves and two horse artillery sabers.

Somewhat understandable the Board of Trade Battery (Stokes’) assigned to the cavalry would have a lot of small arms. We find the Mercantile Battery, serving at Vicksburg, with just four sabers.  Cogswell’s was little better with a pair of pistols and a pair of sabers.  But, speaking against my presumptive identity, we have small arms reported for the last line.  Normally we wouldn’t see that carried (ref. the 14th Cavalry line on the same sheet).  But whoever had those 6-pdrs also had matching revolvers and sabers.